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Coos County backs off much of its plan for aerial spraying to kill mosquitos

Coos County has significantly scaled back plans to spray pesticides over more than 10,000 acres in and around Bandon Marsh National Wildlife Refuge to counter a mosquito infestation.

In the face of opposition from residents and Portland-based Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation, county commissioners agreed the county won’t use Dibrom around the city of Bandon or the wildlife refuge, and instead will treat 300 acres of the marsh with a larvicide.

Xerces Society praised the decision but said it didn’t go far enough.

“Overall, it is extremely good news that Coos County has halted spraying the worst pesticide over the largest acreage,” said Xerces Society Executive Director Scott Hoffman Black. “Unfortunately, the treatment of the marsh will still harm wildlife, is counter to good integrated pest management practices, and has not allowed for public comment under the National Environmental Policy Act.”

Xerces still is concerned that the larvicide, MetaLarv, can harm other aquatic insects and crustaceans, as well as salmon.

A dramatic increase in the mosquito population has plagued the town of Bandon, which has become a tourist mecca popular with golfers.

Xerces argues there are alternative treatments that would be more effective and less toxic, and offered to work with the county and federal wildlife officials on a safer plan to protect the Bandon Marsh.